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Palace Pad Chat takes mentoring online

Palace for Life Foundation has launched a new online gaming programme as part of Premier League Kicks to help keep in touch with young people in south London during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Palace Pad Chat is for anyone who loves gaming and wants to discuss life in isolation with a qualified mentor from Palace for Life Foundation, the official charity of Crystal Palace F.C.

Premier League Kicks uses the power of football to connect with young people in some of the most high-need areas of the UK. Typically activities involve free sport in the community, but with social distancing in place, the Foundation is aiming to run sessions in new, innovative ways.

Anyone aged 12 to 25 will have the chance to join Palace Pad Chat for a game of FIFA, Fortnite or Apex Legends on Xbox One or PS4, providing the opportunity for a chat about any concerns they might have whilst gaming and having fun.

The Foundation has been running Breaking the Cycle for the past two years, offering one-to-one mentoring for young people who have been identified as at risk of being caught up in crime or anti-social behaviour. Mentors are then assigned to help them find a more positive path and build their self-confidence.

The Foundation also runs the Metropolitan Police programme Divert in Croydon Custody Suite, supporting under 25s who have been arrested and helping them get back into education, training or employment.

With face-to-face meetings not possible at the moment, mentors are moving online in order to continue providing that support. Consoles to help launch the programme have been provided with consoles by Croydon-based gaming retailer Go2Games.

Palace for Life Foundation Targeted Intervention Manager George Henry explained: “These are very uncertain and worrying times for young people who might not fully understand what is happening in the world. They are also likely to be bored and isolated without being able to see their friends or take part in any hobbies they might have.

“We’re hoping that by offering them the chance to take on our team through gaming, we can reach out to them using a channel that most of them will already be familiar with. We’re looking forward to engaging with young people we’ve worked with before, but also hopefully welcoming some new faces.

“We’re extremely grateful to Go2Games with the support in helping us to bring this programme to life with additional consoles for our mentors.”

All sessions will be run privately and will only be accessible by Palace for Life mentors. Under 18s must seek written consent from an adult before signing up to take part.

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